Google bows to pressure, removes news snippets from German search results

Google users looking for news from some German sites will see only a headline from now on

In a move to minimize legal risks, Google has stopped showing news snippets and thumbnails for some well-known German news sites in search results.

Google will just show a link to a story along with the headline for news sites such as bild.de, bunte.de or hoerzu.de, said Google Germany's country manager Philipp Justus Wednesday.

The decision is the result of ongoing legal action started by several German news publishers that are members of the collecting society VG Media. After Google refused to compensate the publishers, they sued in June to get a cut of the ad revenue the company makes when it republishes parts of their news articles.

The publisher's claim is based on a German online copyright law that came into effect last August, giving publishers the exclusive right to the commercial use of their content and parts thereof, except in the case of single words or small text snippets.

That law clearly means that search engines with a commercial interest like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo must pay fees, according to the publishers. VG Media has also started similar legal action against Yahoo and other German search engines and aggregators.

The legal action from the publishers is "very disappointing because all news publishers are already free to choose whether they appear in our products or not," said Justus.

Removing snippets and thumbnails was necessary "to minimize our legal risks," a Google spokesman said.

By leaving the links to news articles in its search results, however, Google hasn't gone as far as other German sites with search abilities that decided to remove VG Media content entirely.

The publishers claim that Google is blackmailing those with copyrights and discriminating against publishers that are trying to enforce their intellectual property rights.

Google wants to force publishers to let their content be used free of charge, VG Media said.

The publishers want fair compensation from Google, which owns 93 percent of the German search market, they said. Google should not "frustrate that process in an anticompetitive way," they said in a statement, vowing to continue their legal proceedings against the company.

But Google maintains that it works hard to help news publishers generate an audience and revenue online, with over half a billion clicks for German news publishers each month. In addition, Google's advertising partnerships have generated over €1 billion (US$1.3 billion) in revenue for German publishers over the last three years, Justus said.

"It's why many German news outlets -- from Sueddeutsche to FAZ and Die Zeit to Spiegel and 5,000 more -- choose to include their content in Google Search and Google News and also why thousands of German publishers choose to work with Google as an advertising partner," Justus said.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Googleintellectual propertyVG MediacopyrightCivil lawsuitslegal

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?